I'm wondering if there is a real type of dyslexia in Japanese with [濁音]{だく・おん}, where the person sees the word written, but mentally pronounces the 濁音 for a different mora.

Not to diagnose myself with anything, but I find myself doing it all the time. For example, I might read the word [舞台]{ぶ・たい}(ぶたい) and pronounce it in my head as ふだい. Or I may read かばん and pronounce it as がはん.

Is there a term for this specific type of disorder, or would it probably just be classified within general dyslexia? I would like to research this more if possible.

(Note: I inquired about the on-/off-topicness of this question on this meta post, and though it received little attention, I believe it to be on-topic based on the responses there and the scope of the question. Remember, I'm looking for the specific language term, not psychological reasons about how it's caused, etc. That reasoning should hopefully keep it on-topic)

Note 2: This only happens to me with kanji when there is furigana accompanying it. That is to say, if I just see 舞台 written as is, I read it correctly. But if I see it with furigana like [舞台]{ぶたい}, I'm more likely to mess it up.

  • Maybe it's just because the little dakuten is hard to see? Japanese actually used to be written with all ゛ and ゜ omitted and it's surprisingly readable - my brain seems to remember the general shape of words without those diacritics.
    – ithisa
    Jan 28, 2014 at 12:04
  • As an aside, you don't actually read by recognizing word shape.
    – user1478
    Jan 28, 2014 at 15:57
  • 1
    – user4032
    Jan 28, 2014 at 23:31
  • @snailplane That wasn't my point. To be honest my raw mental image of, say, かばん is "かはん /kaban/". I actually need to remind myself often to put the dakuon in; all of my mistakes on my JAPAN 201R test involved missing dakuon!
    – ithisa
    Jan 29, 2014 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


If it's strictly migatory (ie, it only shifts around, and not optionally ignored/inserted), and cannot land on an illegal mora (e.g. がら ↛ から゛ or あざ ↛ あ゛さ), then it might be a specialized case of Letter Position Dyslexia (LPD). Although, I'm having trouble finding any evidence of LPD or general dyslexia that only affects diacritics without also affecting the orientation and/or ordering of letters.

To wit, Friedmann & Rahamim (2012) note that "diacritic markers were either ignored or made reading even more difficult." It should be noted that this study was for Hebrew, where vowel diacritics are not normally written (and therefore do not provide a critical contrast in regular writing).

German also uses umlauts, but its use is also morphological instead of being just phonological (ie, it can mark plurals or verb conjugation). According to Landerl et al (1997): "Even if such complexities of vowel length representation are neglected by the beginning reader, there is a good chance that phonological recoding will lead to the correct word pronunciation, because it is quite exceptional that two words differ solely in vowel length." In other words, the effects of umlauts on German dyslexics are negligible.

tl;dr: I have found no evidence for dyslexia that is solely affected by diacritics (using both my university's online library, and Google). Rather, instead of a form of dyslexia, it's more likely to be a habituated reading error.

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